Companies and banks that fail to prevent financial crime by their staff could face vast fines and be blacklisted from European contracts under a change to the Bribery Act being considered by the Government.
A proposed amendment put forward by David Green, head of the Serious Fraud Office, would give Britain’s fraud-busting agency wider powers to take direct action against corporates, enabling it to levy US-style fines and brand them with the stigma of abetting bribery.
We absolutely do not want a bureaucracy to be the investigator, prosecutor and collector of the fines.
Perfectly happy with the idea that more might be done to counter bribery. Entirely happy with the idea that there might be more prosecutions. But it has to go to court: and the money from fines must not, cannot, go to the SFO. It must become general revenue for the Treasury.
You’ve only got to look at what’s happening in the US with drug money confiscations to see that we really do not want any law enforcement agency building its budget out of the confiscations from those it accuses.
No, this is an extraordinarily bad idea.